Dalglish_Skyborn-TP.jpg

I adore this cover. For being bold, and putting focus on what makes the character interesting (his wings), rather than trying to create a clear image of the character himself. Lovely, simple typography (including the stylized R), and Arnold’s soft, impressionistic style are perfect for bringing together a cover you just can’t ignore.

Skyborn is about the Seraphim, an elite military force protecting a floating island of Weshern,” said Kirk Benshoff, Art Director at Orbit Books. “The Seraphim guard the remnants of mankind, defying gravity using ancient wings and mastering powerful elements to wage war in the skies.” Starring militarized sword-wielding soldiers with huge metal wings, Skyborn begs for a cover that shows off Daglish’s unique denizens of Weshern. Artist Tommy Arnold was the perfect fit, says Benshoff.

“In what I would call serendipitous timing, the work of Tommy Arnold came across my desk as we were discussing the covers,” he said. “His style just hit the nail on the head for this project. His ability to illustrate characters was spot on. He could also handle textures beautifully: fabrics, metals, flames, etc. And most importantly, his illustrations really pull the viewer in and engage you. It was a no brainer in reaching out to get Tommy on board.”

This book just landed pretty high atop my fall “to-read” pile. Skyborn will be released by Orbit Books in November, 2015.

Twelve-Kings-3

Today, Gollancz revealed the cover art for the UK edition of Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings, the first volume of the Songs of the Shattered Sands trilogy. I had a chance to read some early drafts of the novel, and readers are in for a treat. I also had the opportunity to see a few early sketches of this cover, and it’s fun to see Gollancz take a lot of the early feedback and create a cover with a lot of impact. I’m particularly impressed by the way they’ve focused on Ceda, the novel’s protagonist, making her identifiably badass and female (without over-sexualizing her, or falling back on the usual cover tropes applied to female characters.) It’s a nice compliment to the US cover.

Note, the title of the novel in the UK is Twelve Kings, versus the US title, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. They both have their strengths, but I think I prefer the US version. There’s something about made-up fantasy names that resonates with the 16 year old in me.

Art by Marc Simonetti

Art by Marc Simonetti

Michael J. Sullivan revealed the cover art for The Death of Dulgath, the third volume in his Riyira Chronicles series, with artwork by French artist Marc Simonetti.

Marc Simonetti is one of my favourite fantasy artists, and his work here is just sublime. It should surprise no one that I’m much in favour of the shift away from the photo-realistic, figure-based covers that Orbit produced for the first two books in the Riyira Chronicles series. Sullivan agrees. “I never felt that the models used for the other pair were a good representation of how I saw Royce and Hadrian. But, by the time I saw them it was far too late to do anything about it,” he said on his blog. “For [The Death of Dulgath], we wanted to keep Royce and Hadrian’s back to the camera and focus instead on Castle Dulgath, a run-down abode on the edge of the sea and the site of the majority of the novel.” Read More »

Art by Richard Anderson.  Design by Christine Foltzer.

Art by Richard Anderson. Design by Christine Foltzer.

I am very proud to reveal the cover for Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss, one of several novellas coming later this year as part of the debut lineup of SFF novellas from Tor.com’s new short fiction imprint. As always, I’m a big fan of Richard Anderson’s work, and Irene Gallo’s art team, including designer Christine Foltzer, has done a fine job of wrapping a cover around Anderson’s work. Read More »

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Human,
Near-human,
Non-human

I get to put the monsters centre stage once in a while, give them a good run, even make the heroes.

The characters I liked most in The Empire Strikes Back were the bounty hunters – not Boba Fett, that grandly over-rated amateur jetpack enthusiast, but the other guys: the lizard guy, the insect guy with his insect-headed droid, because if you were an insect guy, you’d do that, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t want that disconcerting standard model human mask staring at you while you travelled from bounty to bounty.

And there was a lizard guy in Battle Beyond The Stars, too, that bizarre Corman space opera that I still have all the feels for, no matter what. It’s full of weird and memorable characters, but for me it was always Cayman of the Lambda Zone, last of his species, and yet with a good fistful of decent lines and some self-deprecating humour thrown in. And he dies heroically which, along with looking like a bug or a lizard, has always done it for me.

So, “From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were”. Thank you Mr Poe. It’s true though: there never was someone to root for the monsters quicker than me. Now, as a writer, I get to put the monsters centre stage once in a while, give them a good run, even make the heroes. Read More »